Thursday, May 10, 2012

Holiday Mountain Misadventures

Mick and Marijo's Memorial Day Mountain Mishap..subtitle Do the Angels Get Paid Overtime for Working Mountain Duty on a Holiday?

We are off for a much needed hike. Four-bying in the 39 Mile Mountain area, pretty far from any civilization. 

The mountains are awesome, some still snow covered. Some covered with freeze dried tundra, spring and the greening up is late this year. 

We park and Mick points to a straight up area topped by several rock formations. I looked at him with raised eyebrows. He is the mountain goat, I keep up on regular hikes and climbs but he usually does the straight up ones by himself. 

He says, "it will be a short hike but we will get some good cardio exercise" Then he mentioned that right then we are at about 10,000 feet elevation. 

You know what they say about hindsight.
We are going higher and higher on the frozen tundra, grass covered with rocks: pointy, some shale and anywhere from two inch ones to huge. The rocks are mostly only five to six inchers. 

Most of the time, we are going straight up. Hiking sticks helped a bunch. 

Mick is telling me that pretty soon it would level out and, "can you make it to that tree which is laying down?" 

I think the tree is standing up, it is about the terrain we are on. 

Somewhere in there, with the wind blowing so hard that the foot to two foot high wheat colored grasses are laying almost flat out against the soil, I tell him I would wait and he can take the pistol and go on.

He wants to show me a cave he has discovered before. I am dizzy and not sure what was going on, guessing it was the now probably over 11,000 foot altitude. I am hungry or sick and, frankly, griping which is unusual. 

He says, "oh, come on, you can do it". 

About that time I tell him he'd missed his calling and would have made a really good motivator or else a used car salesman.

We finally get to the cave. I pass it to sit on a hillside. It is a little rock outcropping and straight down are about 30 feet of the five to six inchers, solid rock pile. 

The surrounding area is gorgeous some treed, aspens just starting to bud out, evergreens, grassy places. We can see no homes or cars or dogs or people, just blue skies and puffy white clouds. 

The wind gets colder, with quite a bite to it. Pretty soon I decide to go down to where Mick is enthralled with the guano. I wonder, is it bat or pack rat? It is all over the inside of the rock shelter cave. 

I stumble getting up and my walking stick caught me before I pitched over head first into the rock pile. 

Shortly after that we begin to pick our way down the mountainside. Mick is staying close in front of me for my safety. The wind is so bad that the dust and dried grass he kicks up is going into my eyes, in spite of the prescription sun glasses. I ask him to go ahead and say I'll follow farther behind. 

We can see the truck at the bottom and it is the tiniest little Tacoma I have ever seen. I am still a bit dizzy. 

Next thing I know my foot hits a rock and I slip, crying out, landing on both knees with glasses flying one way and the walking stick another. Then I begin to roll. I roll over twice and am thinking if I don't stop it will be all over. I will roll over the mountain/rocks etc. Mick is running back to me and gets there just when I stop. 

"Are you hurt, are you ok, can you move?" 

I am crying and not sure what I am or am not at that point. I move my legs, my knees are very sore but I can move. My elbow hurts and my hand is bleeding but basically I am ok. 

Then Mick begins the guy thing "I can never take you hiking again. You need to make sure one foot is solid before you move the other. You need to watch where you put your foot. I can't carry you down this mountain.. can you walk?" 

We made it back to the truck, it takes a long time too, before we drive off. He sees another four-by road and we go down it. 

Pretty soon Mick is saying, "Are you done hiking for the day?"

At that point he finds himself wearing my hiking stick neatly wrapped around his neck. 

I am asking the Lord if the angels get hazardous duty pay or at least overtime for mountain duty on Memorial Day. AND I am thanking and thanking Him that the glasses aren't broken and neither am I.

(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with with proper credits.


lioneagle said...

Hi Marijo -

Wow! What an adventure.

You're such a trooper, Marijo!

Marijo (Mary Jo) Phelps said...

I am married to a Texan - what can I say....